Dems to End the Filibuster With “the Rockefeller Move?”

Posted on January 4, 2011


Since their majority in the Senate has narrowed, the Dems are searching for a way to control the invigorated GOP. The Dems feel their best bet is to limit the filibuster by use of simple majority vote. This was attempted many years ago by Nelson Rockefeller. I doubt these change will happen but it is an interesting approach. SHAW.

Article  Could Senate Dems Nuke the Filibuster?

Frustration with the legislative logjam in the Senate has reached a boiling-over point, and Senate Democrats intend to test the waters this week with a possible rare and controversial change in the chamber’s governing rules that could limit the power of any individual senator to slow or stop debate on any particular nominee or piece of legislation.

Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM, elected in 2008, intends to offer a resolution on Wednesday, according to his spokeswoman, Marissa Padilla, that could result in a change not only in the filibuster rule, but also an elimination of a rule that allows any member to anonymously block, or hold, legislation or presidential appointees. The resolution would open the door, by a 51-vote majority, to alter the standing rules which govern filibusters and holds, among many other things.

“Senator Udall does plan to offer his resolution for the Senate to take up its rules by a simple majority vote on Wednesday, the first legislative day of the session,” Padilla said, adding that this move would then allow the body to consider a number of reform proposals “in order to rein in the needless delay and obstruction that have become so prevalent.”

This contentious move would require a challenge to existing precedents that establish the Senate as a “continuing body,” according to a nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, one where the rules continue from one session to another with one-third of the chamber’s membership constantly in existence, unlike in the House, where the entire membership must be chosen every two years with rules approved in each new Congress.

Proponents of the change intend to argue, according to a senior Senate Democratic aide, that on the first day of a new session, the rules are not yet in effect, with the Constitution delegating the creation of the chamber’s rules to senators, though this runs counter to historical precedent, this according to Robert Dove, former Senate Parliamentarian for 12 years spread over two terms.

“That has never happened and has never been the position of the Senate that could happen. The Senate rules have never been changed on opening day and not without debate,” Dove said, adding, “I understand the frustration, but I also understand the value of the requirement for more than just a majority to end debate…I think (the filibuster rule) will not be changed.” To open up the rules to such a change would first require a ruling from the presiding officer, which on the first day of a new session is most often the Vice President, who is also the President of the Senate. According to the senior aide, VP Joe Biden has not yet made his position known on the matter. He could, as past VP’s have done, put the decision to the entire chamber as it involves a constitutional matter.

MORE……  by Trish Turner